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What is software prototyping?

Wale Moshood

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

Software prototypes refers to working models of software with limited functionality. The prototypes do not always hold the exact logic used in actual software application. Prototyping allows the software publisher to evaluate the product, ensure it’s doing what it’s intended to, and determine if improvements are needed. It also provides an opportunity for the manufacturer to get an actual feel of what the final product will look like before additional resources, like time and money, are put into finalizing the product.

The software prototyping process

Software Prototyping Process
Software Prototyping Process

The process for software prototyping includes:

  1. Basic requirement identification: This step involves understanding the basic product requirements in terms of the user interface. The software publisher decides the functionality, who the user will likely be, and what the user will want from the product.

  2. Developing the initial prototype: In this step, the developer will consider the requirements provided by the publisher and begin to assemble a model of what the finished software product would look like.

  3. Review of the prototype: Once the prototype is developed, it is then offered to the customer and other stakeholders in the project for review. The feedback is collected in an organized way and used for further development of the product.

  4. Revising the prototype: The concluding step in this process is to make revisions to the prototype based on the feedback of the customer, publisher, and beta-testers.

Types of software prototyping

There are two main types of prototypes. They are, the throwaway model and the evolutionary model.

  • The throwaway model is designed to be discarded once the review process has been completed. It looks at what the end product may look like and it’s typically not well defined.

  • The evolutionary model for prototyping is based on building actual functional prototypes with minimal functionality in the beginning. By using evolutionary prototyping, the well-understood requirements are included in the prototype and the requirements are added when they are understood.

The advantages and disadvantages of software prototyping

The advantages of software prototyping are:

  • It reduces time and cost, as the defects are detected much earlier.
  • Quicker feedback from users.
  • Increased user involvement in the software product production.
  • Missing functionalities are identified easily.

The disadvantages of software prototyping are:

  • Users may get confused between the prototypes and actual systems.
  • Too much effort may be invested in building prototypes.
  • A risk of insufficient requirement analysis due to over-dependency on the prototype.

RELATED TAGS

software
communitycreator

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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